Lightning always accompanies thunderstorms, so your first line of defense is to keep an eye and ear to the sky.
Stu Ostro, a Senior Weather Specialist at The Weather Channel and Weather Ready's expert resource for meteorological science, urges an awareness of the swiftness with which thunderstorms can develop, and of lightning's capricious nature.
- Equate thunder with lightning, even if lightning is not visible where you are. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
- Even if you can't hear thunder, you might nonetheless be at risk. The first bolts from a towering cloud overhead can catch you by surprise, and so-called "bolts from the blue" can extend way out from the edge of a thunderstorm and strike a point well away from where most of the thunder and lightning is occurring.